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Through the Eye of the Camera

Lainey S. Cronk
Typical PUC student's Christmas break agenda: drive home, sleep, shop to the tunes of canned Christmas music, sleep, get together with family for the holidays, sleep.

Christmas Break agenda for Adel, Paul, and Tim: fly to an island in the Philippines and spend two weeks among the villagers and missionaries in the mountains.

These three PUC students and digital video technology instructor Lars Engeberg set out to capture on film the work being done by several missionary families on the island of Mindoro. They made the home of Jim and Moni Webb, of Laymen Ministries, their central base and traveled extensively by boat or in jeepneys, visiting an assortment of villages, prison complexes and a three-day missionary seminar.

The group's main focus was filming the work being done in the small villages and, through documentary videos, inspiring more people to become involved in mission work.

Living and working among the native Filipinos, the Tagalog missionary families start schools and churches, do medical work, teach about the Bible, and establish agriculture projects that provide the people with a source of food and enterprise. Their influence in the lives of the villagers is striking.

"It was incredible to see the difference between the villages without missionaries and those with," says Adel Arrabito, who completed her A.S. nursing degree before going on the trip. She said the people without Christian influence are convinced that there are spirits in the ground, trees, flowers, etc. They are afraid to dig in the ground, and thus they have no outhouses. Christianity not only takes
away a lot of the fear these villagers experience, but it also makes things far more sanitary! In the villages where missionaries have taught, Adel was amazed at "how clean [the people] were, and happy and accepting."

Tim De La Torre, sophomore digital video technology major, was also struck by the contrast between villages. "We must have passed by hundreds of villages that didn't have missionaries," he says. "It's so simple - they need help and we can give it."

Regarding interactions with the missionaries, Paul Kim, junior digital video technology major, speaks of the friendships formed with the missionaries, even in a few days' time, and even with the cultural difference. He attributes these friendships to "the Christian brotherhood that breaks all cultural barriers."
Indeed, looking at the trip as a whole, Paul says that it was one of those experiences that "remind you again what are the most important things in life."

Tim also found that the trip gave him some new clarity of vision. "It's one thing to hear and read the stories," he says. "But it's another to see it personally." The experience changed how Tim views missions. "I realize now that my time means a lot more to the people than my money," he reflects. "It's the people who care enough to stay and invest their time that make a lasting difference in the lives of the natives."

The financial cost for the trip was considerable and Jeff Reich of Laymen Ministries lent the PUC group money for the plane tickets. The students are now raising funds to pay off the costs of the trip, but Lars Engeberg isn't worried about his investment. "It's great to send money, but even better - send a warm body," he says.
Note: This is an archived article and does not necessarily represent current issues at Pacific Union College.